''It does this through the resolve and determination of its leadership, and the dedication and loyalty of its people, who remain the core of the country’s priorities, and the main pillar of its development and prosperity,'' Sheikh Hazza said in a forward of new Abu Dhabi economic report launched by Oxford Business Group on Monday.
The Report: Abu Dhabi 2017 provides detailed coverage of the local government’s development targets following the release of the emirate’s new 5-year plan, with a special focus on landmark mergers and consolidations seen over the last year across sovereign funds, energy, banking, and education.
''The year 2016 was not easy on either regional or global fronts, yet stood out as an exceptional year for the UAE.
The journey of progress and development continued through launching ambitious strategic projects and achieving substantial growth, further enhancing the UAE’s regional and global stature and cementing its position amongst attractive investment destinations globally,'' he noted.
The UAE, he indicated, has also continued to improve its competitiveness, outperforming many regional and world economies in several sectors, notably infrastructure, ease of doing business, internet penetration, quality of living, distinguished government services and prevalence of security, among other factors that make the UAE the ideal global destination for excellence.
In order to maintain the UAE’s legacy of humanitarian efforts, Sheikh Hazza explained, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, has announced that 2017 will be the "Year of Giving" in the UAE. It will be dedicated to the UAE’s martyrs, in memory of their heroic deeds and in appreciation of their sacrifices. The year is also dedicated to promoting the culture of giving and to engaging all segments of society, allowing them to participate in the endeavours implemented by the UAE leadership. This year will be a milestone in the UAE’s philanthropic approach and will seek to alleviate the suffering of people in need.
''In Abu Dhabi, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of establishing Abu Dhabi’s modern government, marking the start of an administration that earned itself a prestigious stature amongst world governments. This same government is moving ahead into the future with confidence and optimism, building upon the strong foundations laid down by His Highness, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
''The late Sheikh Zayed was a wise, patient and persistent leader, with a great vision for the future of the UAE, a future that seemed impossible. But thanks to his foresight and dedication, what began as a vision has now transformed into a reality. Sheikh Zayed’s legacy and genius became renowned within and beyond the UAE,'' he said.
''The country in general, and Abu Dhabi in particular, became an international module in development, progress and innovation. Human development, which was the centre of Abu Dhabi’s module, acted as the spark of Sheikh Zayed’s progress and development journey, materialising in the first two pillars he tackled, education and health care.
''In 2007 Abu Dhabi laid down the foundations of its vision for the future, to place its economy and human resources at the forefront of leadership and excellence worldwide, and enhance its economic position in the world. Abu Dhabi plan, launched last year, has translated this vision of creating a confident and secure society, and to build a sustainable, open, and globally competitive economy into a strategic blueprint for all three of the emirate’s regions,'' he continued.
''It contains 25 key objectives and 83 programmes which are implemented through a transparent coordination process between Abu Dhabi’s government entities. The plan is structured around five sectors; social development, economic development, infrastructure and environment, security and justice/safety, and government affairs; and with the overall goal of ensuring the constant development of the emirate.'' ''The economy of the emirate continues to achieve positive results. This indicates the sound economic policy of promoting diversity, which helped create a resilient and varied economy, especially in the wake of highly volatile global economic conditions. The recent decisions to integrate economic entities were urgently needed measures that increased the competitiveness of Abu Dhabi,'' he said.
These initiatives, he further added, will steer the emirate’s financial resources into specific economic channels and create greater benefits and enhanced economic value for the government.
According to him, the emirate of Abu Dhabi is gradually shifting away from its reliance on oil, building on the potential of its sons and daughters, whose capabilities and efforts in different development fields.
In order to make sure that economic growth is sustained, Abu Dhabi had sought to implement ambitious plans to diversify its economic base. These plans, Sheikh Hazza affirmed, achieved their objectives by increasing the share of non-oil sectors in Abu Dhabi’s GDP. Further evidence of Abu Dhabi’s sound economic policies was our ability to maintain a low inflation rate while maintaining high growth rates in the past years. Additionally, while non-oil exports doubled during the past five years, foreign direct investment in the emirate of Abu Dhabi also doubled in the same period.
''The government has worked diligently to ensure the progress and continuing prosperity of the emirate, and will continue to pursue its endeavour to achieve the highest levels of productivity in the upcoming years, with the key objective of guaranteeing the best futures possible for the emirate’s forthcoming generations,'' Sheikh Hazza concluded his forward.